It Starts with a Seed

 Late summer  through fall is  a wonderful time to be outdoors.  The weather is cooler, the leaves are changing color,  and  in a few months, a few of us might even hibernate for the winter.   One of my favorite activities  during this time  is volunteering to do seed collecting.   It’s an easy activity, something you can do on your own or together with some family or friends,  and it is an excellent way to learn about our natural areas.  

Seed collecting is fun and interesting for all!

Restoration projects  rely on volunteers  to collect native seeds.  Seeds are an inexpensive way to grow native plants in natural areas and at  home (provided you like a natural style landscape).  Seeds also help maintain genetic diversity, which is important since diverse species adapt better to environmental changes and stresses. The website below list many restoration projects that need help with seed collecting. Just check their dates and volunteer requirements.

Habitat Project Website for Restoration 

There is a neat program  that  gives gardeners rare native plant seeds to grow  in their yards,  then  ask them to return the seeds their plants produce for use in restoration projects.   Another  program called "Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Bank"  at the Chicago Botanic Garden preserves live native seeds for a seed bank.   Volunteers are needed to help clean and prepare seeds for this seed bank. Several local chapters of Wild Ones host a native seed exchange/swap event in fall for native plant gardeners. 

We have many beautiful habitats and each has its own unique attributes and special qualities. These habitats are best appreciated and understood through hands-on experiences, like seed collecting.  Denise Sandoval

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